Midlands State University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences under the joint Partnerships for Education Training and Research Advancement (PETRA) was part of a medical team led by Professor Jonathan Matenga that launched a Stroke Unit at Gweru Provincial Hospital (GPH) on Tuesday 9 March 2021.
The Stroke Unit is expected to significantly improve the quality of care delivery for stroke patients and was established as part of the ongoing PETRA project that is being rolled out at 4 hospitals across Zimbabwe.
The PETRA project brings together stroke physicians, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, speech and occupational therapists, social workers, and physiotherapists in a collaborative approach meant to reduce death and disability in stroke admissions.
The programme further intends to promote the early detection of stroke symptoms to allow for immediate mobilisation and rehabilitation of the affected.
It provides detailed information and educates patients and their next-of-kin during the patients’ hospital stay.
In his presentation, Doctor Ngwende pointed out that before the launch of the PETRA project, 25 % of all stroke patients died within the first week of admission and this has since been reduced to between 7 and 8 % following the intervention of the project in Zimbabwe, with the first stroke Unit having been launched in February 2019 at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Speaking during the launch, PETRA project Co-Director, Professor Jonathan Matenga said that if the results at the Gweru Provincial Hospital Stroke Unit and the other 3 pilot hospitals yield positive results, the programme will eventually be rolled out at all the hospitals countrywide. He further commended Midlands State University for its vibrant partnership with Gweru Provincial Hospital as well as for its role in the PETRA initiative.
“In partnering with the University, we don’t just teach medicine, we teach people to practise responsibly for the benefit of the population.
I’m very impressed with the MSU Medical School, and they have a very good hospital for learning good practices,” said Professor Matenga.
Speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Executive Dean, Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, a specialist physician and lecturer in the department, Dr Peter Macheri said that the Faculty is providing expertise and teaching medical students attached to the medical wards and the stroke unit.
“We are passing our knowledge to the next generation so that future patients of stroke will get good care.
This is the start of many good things to come for the University for the Hospital, which will also stimulate research in the related areas of stroke and other common morbidities,” said Dr Macheri.
The launch was attended by several health experts among them Dr Lenon Gwaunza, Dr Gift Ngwende, Sister Nyakurimwa, and 5th-year medical students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The PETRA project is a collaboration between the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Midlands State University (MSU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the National University of Science & Technology Faculty of Medicine, Africa University Department of Health Sciences, and two US-based institutions (University of Colorado, Denver and Stanford University). It is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Fogarty International Center of the US to pursue innovative initiatives in Health Professions Education (HPS) and Research Capacity Development.

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